Cat Osterman loves Cocoa Puffs, the Dixie Chicks, and K's. By K's, of course, she means strikeouts. This season the six-foot-one left-hander for the University of Texas softball team has set team records for most strikeouts in a game (24), most consecutive innings without an earned run (79 2/3), and most consecutive scoreless innings (60 1/3). Not content with those feats, on February 26 she pitched the first perfect game in UT softball history against Stephen F. Austin State University, and then, for good measure, she did it again on March 27 against Baylor. The other great news for Longhorn fans? The eighteen-year-old Houston native is only a freshman.
Did you ever imagine that your first year at UT would be so successful?
Cat Osterman: I can't say I'm surprised at how the season is going because I've worked hard to be at this level. Well, I am a little surprised. I didn't think I'd come in here and average twelve strikeouts a game.
What did you do to celebrate your first perfect game?
CO: Actually there wasn't much celebration. It was the first game of a doubleheader, and we had another game coming up. I knew that I had thrown one, and I was happy. But when I heard that that had never been done in school history, I was in shock.
Last season you played for the USA national team, and you've been invited to try out again this year. Have you always dreamed of playing in the Olympics?
CO: Definitely. Knowing that I have USA after the season keeps me working hard. One of my goals is to be one of those pitchers who's up there with Lisa Fernandez or Michele Smith, the Olympic pitchers. But there's still so much more that I need to work on. There are a few pitches I need to control a little better, and I need to get an offspeed pitch that works tremendously instead of working every now and then. There's also my mentality. Because I'm young, I get frustrated a little more than the older players.
With everything that you've accomplished, are people around Austin recognizing you?
CO: Not many people recognize me on campus; the only people who say anything to me are the other athletes. It's kind of nice to walk around and not have to worry about that.